Questions By Members, 17 June 2015
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Breakfast program and locally produced food

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Last week in the House the Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture announced an expansion to the school breakfast program. Funding was to be increased and the commitment made to use, and I quote: locally purchased food. Now that all sounds very lovely except that locally purchased food is not necessarily the same as locally produced food. Locally purchased food, of course, could mean going into the downtown Sobeys and buying a crate of Fruit Loops. I’m assuming that’s not what the minister meant, but I ask for some clarification.

A question to the minister: Does locally purchased food mean food produced on Prince Edward Island by Prince Edward Island farmers?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture.

Mr. Perry: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That’s a great question. As was announced last week, the breakfast program has been in existence quite some time in PEI. I have been involved with it myself through the Home and School associations. There are many students that do come to school that do need that breakfast to get them going in the day, and it has to be nutritious and healthy, and that’s something that we’re trying to promote.

Of course we want to support our local producers, and we encourage the schools to purchase locally from local producers as much as they possibly can.

Thank you.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party for a first supplementary question.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I’m pleased to hear that, but I’ll be watching carefully to make sure that is indeed reflected in the implementation of the program. Because by purchasing food from Island farmers for our schools, hospitals, or any other government institution, we’re supporting Island agriculture, we’re stimulating our local economy, we’re creating jobs here on Prince Edward Island, and we’re improving the health of those people that receive the food.

I ask again: Will the minister make it clear in the implementation of this program that we are referring to locally produced food and not just locally bought food?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture.

Mr. Perry: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, a very good question. We do want to support our local producers regardless of what commodity it is, and I will encourage the schools to buy locally from local producers.

Thank you.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party for a second supplementary.

Standards for healthy food

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The other stipulation in the minister’s statement is that food be healthy. Lots of food products claim to be healthy, including Fruit Loops, by the way, and I quote: Made with whole grain oats, natural fruit flavourings, and low in fat and a source of seven essential nutrients.

Can the minister tell us what standards or criteria will be used in determining what qualifies as healthy food?

Mr. Aylward: Minister of fruit loops.

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture.

Mr. Perry: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, a very good question. It all goes back to giving our students the best start of the day. Breakfast is one of the most important meals and healthy snacks are another important part of their day. We do encourage, again, locally produced products. We will encourage nutritious food using Canada’s Food Guide, for example, but also using or accessing dietary, I guess, education from dietitians.

I ask again, and I will ask the schools, to use that as part of their selection of choices in what they feed our students in the morning.

Thank you.

 

One Comment

  1. Bill Kays 17 June 2016 at 11:46 am

    No criticism here, but following a federal guideline is BS and they know. The federal guidelines do not accurately reflect Islanders, and I am tired of our Island gov deferring to the feds for anything. As Michelle Obama’s famous food plan in the states was the worst implementation of a good idea. Good and even great ideas often get twisted into something else by our wonderful, caring government.

     

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